Getting used to the new bike

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I’ve been having plenty of fun on the new road bike, trying to squeeze in leisurely rides to Richmond Park whenever I can to get used to riding her.

With each new outing the riding position gets easier and more comfortable. And I think it’s safe to say I’m relatively au fait with the gears, although I still have to concentrate when I want to go down the gears because they don’t seem to be set up intuitively — by which I mean I tend to click them the wrong way, which momentarily catches me out. I have to remind myself to move them the opposite way I think they should be moved.

The best thing, however, is how quick and light she is. After years of cycling on a heavy steel hybrid, the speed — nay the zippiness — is a revelation. I used to slog around Richmond Park while cyclists on road bikes whizzed by at twice the speed; now I’m doing the whizzing and it feels great!

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My first proper cycle on her, however, was a bit of an adventure. I headed to Richmond Park on a sunny Thursday afternoon and almost collapsed from the shock of climbing Sawyer’s Hill in the heat (it didn’t help that I still wasn’t familiar with the gearing). Indeed, I stopped at the top, pulled over to the side and flopped into the grass to recover. Mind you, I wasn’t the only one doing this. Further down the hill I spotted two other cyclists doing the exactly the same thing!

Then, once I got back on the bike, I lost my drink bottle about two miles down the road when it bounced right out of the cage and into the long grass. I was going uphill at the time and there was lots of motor traffic behind me, so I couldn’t stop and rescue it. (I’ve since changed my bottle cage, so this can’t happen again.)

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The next time I took her out I actually got out of bed at 6am to do it. Anyone who knows me will now pick themselves up off the floor from the shock, because I’m not a “morning person”. However, I was spending the week working locally, so the only way I could fit in a cycle was to do it early in the morning before my shift started. So I did a quick loop of the park and was back home by 7.45am, giving me time to have a shower and breakfast before my working day began. It was a brilliant way to start the day, especially as the roads at that time are so quiet — although the cars do tend to be a bit more aggressive, almost as if they are used to having the road to themselves and how dare a cyclist get in their way or hold them up!

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The third outing was a leisurely afternoon cycle to Teddington. I was using it as a “dry run” to see if it was commutable through Richmond Park, as I had three days’ work there later in the week. It was a really lovely cycle but not especially quick — mainly because there were plenty of deer out and about and I had to stop three times to let them cross the cycle path ahead of me!

According to my Garmin phone app, here are the stats from those rides:

Date: 7 August | Total distance: 18.7 miles | Time: 1:47:10 | Average moving speed: 10.5mph | Calories: 783

Date: 14 August | Total distance: 15.8 miles | Time: 1:19:15 | Average moving speed: 12mph | Calories: 716

Date: 19 August | Total distance: 21.5 miles | Time: 2:03:18 | Average moving speed: 10.5mph | Calories: 961

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